Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. It affects the ovaries, which are the reproductive organs that produce eggs and hormones like estrogen and progesterone. PCOS can lead to various symptoms and health problems due to hormonal imbalances.

Some Key Points About PCOS:

Women with PCOS often have higher than normal levels of androgens, which are sometimes referred to as male hormones. This hormonal imbalance can disrupt the normal function of the ovaries and lead to the growth of small collections of fluid-filled sacs (follicles) in the ovaries. These follicles can form cysts, which is why the condition is called “polycystic” ovary syndrome.

One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is irregular menstrual periods. Women with PCOS may have fewer than eight menstrual cycles per year or experience heavy, prolonged periods.

Due to hormonal imbalances, women with PCOS may have difficulty ovulating regularly, which can make it harder for them to conceive. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

Women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. These factors increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

In addition to irregular periods and fertility issues, PCOS can cause a range of other symptoms, including:

  • Excess facial or body hair (hirsutism)
  • Acne
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Thinning hair or male-pattern baldness
  • Darkening of the skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts (acanthosis nigricans)

People with PCOS focus on managing symptoms and reducing the risk of complications. Depending on the individual’s symptoms and goals, treatment options may include:

  • Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to manage weight and improve insulin sensitivity
  • Medications to regulate menstrual cycles, reduce androgen levels, or improve insulin sensitivity
  • Fertility treatments for women trying to conceive
  • Managing other symptoms such as acne or excess hair growth with medications or cosmetic treatments


PCOS is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. While there is no cure for PCOS, proper treatment and lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. It’s essential for individuals with PCOS to work closely with healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan.

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